Typical of an all-weather venue, Wolverhampton Racecourse is one of the busiest tracks in the country. Wolverhampton hosts around 80 racing fixtures each year, along with several music concerts and other events.
The track at Wolverhampton was the first in British thoroughbred racing to be floodlit, making it the first in the country to stage regular evening meetings year-round from 1993 onwards.
Since 2014, the track surface here has been Tapeta. This has proven to be very successful, with Breeders’ Cup winners Muhannak and Conduit having won here first, along with Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Toast Of New York.
The surface has been a great hit, and has been replicated elsewhere including at Newcastle which also now produces regular future Group 1 stars.
- Address – Wolverhampton Racecourse, Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton, WV6 0PE.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – Flat.
- Surface – All-Weather (Tapeta).
Wolverhampton’s all-weather track is a very conventional one indeed. Replicating the typical North American dirt track, this is a left-handed oval of just under one mile in length.
Naturally then, the turns are pretty sharp here and there is a short run-in after the final bend of just about two furlongs. Much like in America, this track favours those able to jump early and race up with the pace and with that in mind, smart jockeys who also understand the need for a quick start and to race up front.
The surface has changed twice; from Fibresand to Polytrack in 2004 and then from that to Tapeta in 2014. This surface, much like those at Newcastle, Southwell and over at Turfway Park in the States, is very highly regarded by trainers and jockeys.
Wolverhampton Track Analysis
There is some evidence to suggest that jockeys still sometimes ride Wolverhampton as they did before the surface changed.
Some will want to get away from the far rail, despite the sharp turns, which is not to be recommended these days. Look for jockeys with a proven strike-rate round the track since 2014 to ensure they know how to ride the place properly.
Riders do report most of the starts, especially the five-furlong, seven-furlong and one-mile starts to be difficult to manage of coming from a high draw. A low draw, on the inner, is almost always favoured especially if your rider is confident enough to stay on the inner around the final bend and away up the straight.
Visiting Wolverhampton Racecourse
Wolverhampton is a very busy racecourse, one of the busiest in the entire country in fact. As such, there are many, many meetings to choose from with the majority coming with cheap race day ticket options.
How to Get to Wolverhampton
The track is just one-and-a-half miles from the centre of Wolverhampton using Stafford Street and Goresbrook Road.
From the nearby Birmingham area you can take the M5 or M6 north out of the city until finding your way onto the A41 for a journey of around 15 miles in total.
Those coming from the north can take the M6 past Stoke and Stafford, coming off at junction 10a for the M54 before turning left onto Stafford Road.
From Nottingham and Leicester, use the M1 to the A47 west. Follow signs to Wolverhampton and then to the racecourse.
Wolverhampton train station is only around 2½ miles from the racecourse, easily accessible by taxi. The station welcomes direct services from Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Bournemouth, Chester, Crewe, Edinburgh, London Euston, Manchester Piccadilly and more with plenty of other stops and lots of connections available making it a particularly well connected track.
Where to Stay
Wolverhampton racecourse is close to some fairly densely populated areas and so offers an abundance of options for overnight stays.
Wolverhampton, Walsall, Birmingham and West Bromwich are all nearby and all have plenty of rooms available.
Wolverhampton Racecourse Fixtures
|Saturday||9th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Saturday||16th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Monday||18th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Tuesday||19th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Friday||22nd Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Tuesday||26th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Flat / All Weather|
|Wednesday||27th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
|Saturday||30th Dec 2023||Floodlit||Flat / All Weather|
Major Events at Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton’s two major races are:
|Lincoln Trial Handicap||Handicap, 4yo+, Class 2||1m½f||Lady Wulfruna Day||March|
|Lady Wulfruna Stakes||Fillies & Mares, 4yo+, Listed Race||7f||Lady Wulfruna Day||March|
Each of these races take place on the same day.
The Lincoln Trial, although naturally run on this all-weather course, is indeed being used increasingly by trainers to get their horses fit for the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster which comes up just two weeks later.
The Lady Wulfruna Stakes, run at Listed level, is an important race in its own right. However it is now also a Fast Track Qualifier for All Weather Championships Finals Day at Newcastle, making it a “win and you’re in” race for the fillies and mares division.
About Wolverhampton Racecourse
There has been horse racing known about in Wolverhampton since at least 1825. Back then, racing took place at an area now known as West Park. Park Road follows what was the line of the track.
The old track was sold off to the Corporation in 1878, leaving the town with no racing for some nine years until a new course was built at Dunstall Park where we still race today.
Formerly a dual-purpose venue, the last jumps meeting at Wolverhampton was hosted in 1993. Later that year, the track was changed entirely with floodlights put in alongside a new, “all-weather” Fibresand track. Back then, the Fibresand track ran alongside the turf course.
A new hotel was built on the grounds, along with restaurants and executive boxes. The racecourse was reopened by The Queen in January 1994.
Due to the floodlights and all-weather track, Wolverhampton was very busy for the next six years at which point it was bought by Arena Leisure.
Five more years followed before in 2004, the Fibresand was replaced by the newer Polytrack surface. This was to be placed all over, with the turf track disappearing. Since then, only all-weather Flat races have been held at Wolverhampton.
Arena Leisure and Northern Racing merged to form Arena Racing Company, or ARC, which Wolverhampton is now part of, being shown on Sky Sports Racing.
Track Controversy and the Future
In 2014, there was controversy regarding the track.
The Polytrack surface was coming in for sterner and sterner criticism and so, after many consultations, Wolverhampton was to change again and become the first British track to install Tapeta as their racing surface.
Tapeta was new at the time and had been pioneered by Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Michael Dickinson.
Since then, the racing surface has been a roaring success and has helped horses prepare for prestigious dirt races in the States, such as at the Breeders’ Cup.
Wolverhampton’s links with American-style racing could be strengthened further yet.
The course has been given planning permission by the local council to expand its hotel from 54 to 170 rooms, and also install a casino. This would make Wolverhampton the first ‘racino’ in the country, something very popular across America for a number of years.